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Lightweight Tents Stakes - Whats Sticks and What Sucks

Updated: Sep 9, 2023


Whether you are backpacking the PCT or just car camping across the US and your nightly accommodations are a tent and you want to maintain the form and stability of that tent you're going to want to use good tent stakes. Even if your tent is a free-standing or Non-freestanding tent you are still going to need tent stakes, especially if it's a non-freestanding.


One of the most important functions of tent stakes is making sure your tent is secure to the ground. If it's not anchored down properly, a gust of wind could easily blow it away, and you'll be left out in the cold! That's why it's so important to use tent stakes when setting up your tent. Depending on the type of tent, tent stakes can also provide structure for a non-freestanding tent or more living space in a semi-freestanding tent.



There are a variety of different types of tent stakes available on the market, so it's important to choose the right one for your needs. The most common type is made from aluminum, which is lightweight and durable. However, if you're planning on camping in an area with a lot of rocks or roots, you might want to consider getting stakes that are made from steel or titanium. These materials are much more durable and will be less likely to bend or break when driven into the harder ground. But stronger materials can lead to more weight for the gram counters. These types of stakes can take a pounding to get into hard soil but then won't do so well in soft loose soil. Stakes with more surface area tend to do better at this.


Once you get to camp and you start setting up your tent you usually try and use your shoe to push the tent stakes in, and when this doesn't work you grab the nearest rock and start pounding away. The ROCK RATING is how well the tent stakes hold up to the pounding. The rating is 1 to 5, with 5 being the stake holds up best.


Whether you are backpacking the PCT or just car camping across the US the best all-around tent stake is the three-sided Aluminum 7-inch Stake. Great in many different soil types, durable, and cheap.




I have used the following Lightweight Tents Stakes with numerous tents in different weather conditions and soil types over the years.


1. Big Agnes J Stake

Price: $1.50 ea

Weight: .40 oz

Length: 6.25 Inches

Rock Rating: 4

Pros: Cheap, Lightweight

Cons: Bend easy, and the angled top provids less surface area to strike.


2. MSR Groundhog

Price: $3.50 ea

Weight: .35 oz

Length: 6 Inches

Rock Rating: 4

Pros: Strong, works ell in many types of soil

Cons: Top portion can bend or break off


3. Titanium V Stakes

Price: $3.25 ea

Weight: .39 oz

Length: 6.5 Inches

Rock Rating: 2

Pros: Lightweight, Works in most soil types

Cons: Can get tweaked in hard soil


4. Vargo Titanium Shepherds Hook

Price: $3.95 ea

Weight: .30 oz

Length: 6.8 Inches

Rock Rating: 1

Pros: Very light, Large hook hangs on tight to the guylines, Easy to get out of the ground

Cons: Easy to bend, doesn’t work well in many soil types


5. Big Agnes Dirt Dagger UL

Price: $3.25 ea

Weight: .30 oz

Length: 6 Inches

Rock Rating: 2

Pros: Lightweight

Cons: Bends easy, metal at the top gets chewed up easy and can snag on guyline


6. Three Sided Aluminum Tent Stake

Price: $.79 ea

Weight: .35 oz

Length: 7 Inches

Rock Rating: 4

Pros: Lightweight for the size, works well in all soil types

Cons: Can be bulky if all the stakes are this type.


7. Easton Aluminum Nano Stakes

Price: $2.50 ea

Weight: .39 oz

Length: 6.4 Inches

Rock Rating: 5

Pros: Lightweight, Strong, can take a beating

Cons: Doesn't work well in soft soil



Tent Stake Tip: Most tents need at least 4 stakes to set up but some can take up to 8 to function or survive some bad weather if need be. The tent I use most needs 4 stakes to set up comfortably but needs 8 to set up for bad weather. So, I mix and match the stakes to accommodate for different soil types and possible bad weather. I take 3 of the Three-Sided Aluminum 3 MSR Groundhogs and 2 of the Easton Nano Stakes.

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